MORE STORAGE

Given the ever expanding game collection I ordered up another 4 TB hard disk. Seagate disks seem to be reliable and capacity is excellent.

There are 2 empty bays so it possible to expand but there is a 2 TB disk that can be retired to another machine. Moving files from older disks to new large capacity ones can take some time.

Larger capacity disks are still disproportionately expensive. The 6 TB disk is almost double the cost of the 4 TB model. Larger capacity disks are expensive but many use them and suffer the cost. Retail prices vary considerably.

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Steam can move games from disk to disk. Origin has also now added that capability. This is mostly to allow gamers to select game for the SSD while others are placed on disks waiting to be played.

The Intel 660p SSD is 512 GB so the capacity is limited but there is a 2 TB version but the cost is proportionately higher. Samsung had a 4 TB M.2 SSD but supplies have been rather limited. NewEgg does not even offer it in Canada at all, but it’s available on the US site for $599. At that price, the Micron 15TB SSD does not look so bad.

DISK ERRORS

Due to the crashing with the most recent nVidia driver 436.02 the disks have been corrupted due to the frequent use of the reset button. Rolling back to 431.70 which is known to be stable is expected to eliminate the problem. Hopefully nVidia is able to fix the crashing problems.

With an elevated command prompt, CHKDSK can fix most disk errors very quickly. The /R option can force CHKDSK to scan the sectors of a disk to determine if they are logically sound.

Permissions errors can be fixed but with a large capacity hard disk that can take quite some time when there are a lot of files in a large folder tree.

HARD DISK SURVIVAL

One of the main reasons that hard disks survive in the studio is the use of quality power supplies. Bad power can damage the electronics the logic board. At present the gaming machine has a Corsair HX1000i power supply which has more than enough cables for anybody’s requirements.

Some hard disks have been in service for more than 5 years. Periodically, disks are replaced with larger capacity models and files are consolidated. Still, some disks accumulate over 50,000 operating hours before retirement.

Old ATX desktops machines are able to be repurposed as NAS machines with 4 standard hard disks. Removing or replacing old video cards reduces the power consumption and recent processors have lots of power saving states. Storage Spaces is an option for machines that have a small M.2 SSD so that the entire pool of hard disks can be protected with some redundancy.

NAS

Low cost network attached storage units are popular but many have discovered they are not very fault tolerant of consumer grade hard disks. RAID 5 can tolerate one failed disk and RAID 6 can tolerate two failed disks.

Rackmount 16 bay storage units are readily available for under $5000. These servers typically use an Intel Atom CPU and have 4GB or more RAM installed and they are very energy efficient. Loaded with the latest 16TB helium filled hard disks, a single server can have 224TB of fault tolerant storage. It only takes 4 servers to achieve the PB capacity level.

It’s advisable for NAS users to consider having a spare hard disk on hand or even a couple of them. While hard disks can run for years, the occasional failure happens so having a spare can keep the array intact.